Join Sixteen:Fifteen for a FREE Webinar with Pioneers!
“Church Planting Movement – Making Disciples & Church Planting in Difficult Places”
 July 24, 2013, 12 Noon to 1PM MDT

Sixteen:Fifteen:  Well, hopefully you’ve whet readers’ appetites with this interview and they will tune in on July 24th to take a much deeper look at CPMs but in the event they don’t, what is the one thing that you believe every church should know about CPMs?  Is there a recommended resource that might help participants prepare for this webinar?
Denny Spitters, Pioneers:  Yes, I would highly recommend the book I mentioned before, Miraculous Movements, by Jerry Trousdale. It’s an encouraging read into what God is doing in Muslim contexts using CPM principles of disciple making and church planting.

A CPM has its roots in the process of connecting to the “people of peace” who open their networks to the influence of the gospel. It is an excellent foundation for making disciples and church planting.

We will do our best to look at CPM practices and principles and answer any questions you have. Ted Esler and I are willing to stay after the webinar has ended to engage anyone who is interested in further dialogue. We also have a DVD available on this topic called “A Closer Look: Making Disciples and Planting Churches in Hard Places.”

Sixteen:Fifteen:  What is CPM and why does Pioneers deploy it and why is it important?

Denny Spitters, Pioneers:  CPM is an acronym for Church Planting Movements. It is a networks (families, tribes, clans) based approach to church planting that draws on Luke 9 & 10, and Matthew 10, and works well among resistant peoples. It is important because CPM is central to our mission:  “Pioneers mobilizes teams to glorify God among unreached peoples by initiating church planting movements in partnership with local churches.” Our passion is CPM’s among unreached people groups (UPGs). We are committed to see the gospel accessible to all nations, tribes, and tongues including those with the least “access”. At Pioneers we seek to remove obstacles that prohibit people from engaging the unreached.

Sixteen:Fifteen:  Do you have some examples of what CPM might look like?

Denny Spitters, Pioneers:  In the context of the majority of unreached peoples, making disciples will be the foundation of the church planting in their region. Making disciples is paramount and focuses on the Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations”. The look is very different than a western culture church since a large portion of the unreached is highly relationally dependent and connected – so these churches look more like “simple” or “house” churches. The Chinese house church movement is a good example of what they might look like. However to describe CPM as a method, model, or “the golden key” to make disciples and plant churches would be a mistake.

Sixteen:Fifteen:  So how are Pioneers workers trained and mentored to embrace CPM?

Denny Spitters, Pioneers:  First I think we can’t forget that only God can create a CPM. There is not a one size fits all approach in our training for a healthy CPM. Prayer has been the solid bedrock of any known CPM. In the book, Miraculous Movements, by Jerry Trousdale, he says “There is one constant theme that keeps coming up in interviews we have conducted with Christ followers from a Muslim background: abundant prayer.” There are some core principles that we can glean from Jesus in Matthew 10 and Luke 10 that he revealed such as: finding the person of peace, discipling that person and /or his family well, and announcing the Kingdom of God with a focus on the Bible. We call them Discovery Bible Studies (DBS), CITYTEAM and others call them Disciple Making Movements (DMM). The center is obedience based discipleship that teaches a dependency on the commands of scripture and contextualizing the gospel within that people group. The approach is one of discipling people to conversion like Jesus did with his own disciples. The key question missionary workers address in church planting is: “How do we make disciples and plant healthy reproducing churches in an unreached culture?” That is not an easy question to answer in any context. However through prayer, commitment to obedience based discipleship, dependency on scripture, and healthy contextualization of the gospel, with the Holy Spirits’ blessing, we believe movements are possible.

Sixteen:Fifteen:  Are all Pioneers workers practicing this training with an emphasis on CPM?

Denny Spitters, Pioneers:  The Pioneers culture allows for great flexibility and application of this training within a workers’ context. Not all of our workers embrace these principles and every part of CPM training. But the training creates the emphasis and conversation about church planting. It also provides a baseline for healthy questions about church planting goals and outcomes. For instance, the “person of peace” approach is working well in some Muslim contexts and in others less so. In Hindu contexts the thinking is that a better approach to their world view and culture might be beginning a DBS with the book of Ecclesiastes rather than the Creation to Christ DBS process used with Muslims. The gospel has to be the gospel to the target population. Everyone is taught the same pieces of the gospel in a DBS but the order of the pieces may be altered to match the need of the context. Our motivation is to challenge our workers to partner with God and find the ways to initiate a CPM. We believe 20-25 % of our field workers are actively pursuing a DBS approach in various forms while others are using a more traditional or proclamational approach which tends to focus more on church development. Others are experimenting with a mixture of the two depending on their context. Dialogue and flexibility are critical to the process.

Sixteen:Fifteen:  Where are the points of greatest concern with North American churches regarding CPM?

Denny Spitters, Pioneers:  The paradigm shift to planting churches among the unreached is a huge shift, especially in the area of ecclesiology. There are several concerns the North American church finds problematic due to the unique differences between proclamational practice and CPM practice. Issues of discipleship, education, church form / structure, role of the missionary worker, and church growth, quickly surface as vast differences.
Let’s look at discipleship. In North America discipleship happens within the context of the church and healthy churches produce healthy disciples – a very proclamational practice. In CPM practice the church happens in the context of discipleship. Healthy disciples produce healthy churches. When we look at the role of the missionary, the proclamational approach says mission workers are incarnational, highly participative, doing the teaching, discipleship, and leading – with the CPM approach the worker is catalytic and incidental, taking the role of shepherd, coach, administrator/ organizer. If we observe the Chinese house church movement as an example, heresy & syncretism is a very great concern to proclamational practitioners. CPM practitioners would counter that some of the most destructive heresy and syncretism has come from Western Christianity with its pluralism, materialism, and post- modern thinking resulting in poor contextualization practices and the message of health, wealth, and prosperity gospel.

Sixteen:Fifteen:  How do all of these concepts and differences affect North American churches?
Denny Spitters, Pioneers:  We need healthy dialogue with partner churches that have significant questions about CPM or other areas of missiology. We welcome the questions and concerns. The last five words of our mission statement affirm that our mission is accomplished “in partnership with local churches”. We embrace collaborative partnership with local churches in order to fulfill our mission of CPM’s among UPG’s. We need the local church to wrestle with us as we seek to obey the Great Commission and fulfill its mandate. We do not want to fall prey to programs or plans designed to “break the code” of a culture and evangelize everyone at once through a new technique, model, or method. Cross cultural service is sacrificial and demands that we adequately prepare workers with a clear grasp of the cost of discipleship while providing principles and practices that will assist them in making disciples and planting churches among unreached peoples. CP Movements rely on healthy discipleship principles that seed the ground for a movement where easily reproducible church planting practices empower indigenous leaders rather than placing missionaries at the center of the equation. We hope that the North American churches will embrace this concept for their workers that create an atmosphere of sustainability of the indigenous church, rather than dependency on the western church planter. By focusing on the foundations of obedience to the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit in their church community from the beginning, we believe a healthy CPM is possible.